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Catalog Data

Photograph by:
Amanda Williams, American, born 1974  Search this
ink on photographic paper
H x W (sheet): 22 × 30 in. (55.9 × 76.2 cm)
H x W (image): 20 × 28 in. (50.8 × 71.1 cm)
digital prints
Place depicted:
Englewood, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States, North and Central America
2014-2016; printed 2020
Statement from the artist:
“From 2014-2015 Amanda Williams created a contemporary art project called Color(ed) Theory. Amanda covertly and without permission, painted empty houses in and around Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood that were slated for demolition. She developed a unique, culturally coded, monochromatic color palette based on hues found in primarily in consumer products marketed toward Black people along commercial corridors on Chicago’s South Side. The project emphasized how colors have socially constructed associations that are inextricably linked to race and class. The series explored how academic and theoretical definitions of color map across veiled language used in American media/popular culture to describe racially charged city spaces. What color is urban? What color is gentrification? What color is privilege? Williams then photographed each house, calling attention to the architectural details as well as their isolated context.”
A digital print color photograph of a royal purple painted house within an otherwise empty, grassy lot. The square, two-story clapboard structure has a steep gabled roof with decorative, diamond-shaped shingles covering the triangular section of the facade above the second floor. The front door is on the right side and has a transom window above and a small uncovered wooden porch with a short set of narrow wooden stairs leading down to the sidewalk. Ther eis a large square window to the left of the door and two narrow, vertical rectangular windows on the second floor. The house has a concrete foundation, with the first floor starting about two feet above ground level. The house has been entirely painted a royal purple color, including the windows, with the original white appearing at the edges of the decorative shingles and along sections of the window and door trim. There is a light fixture above the front door and a satellite dish adhered to the left of the first floor window, both of which are also painted purple. There is a sidewalk running in front of the house, parallel to the street in front. A small sidewalk runs from the front steps of the house to the street. There is another sidewalk running to the street from the empty lot next door, as if another house once stood in that space. The empty lots on either side of the house are covered with green, trimmed grass. There is a large tree with yellow leaves to the right side of the image and a tree branch with green leaves leans into frame from the left side. An elevated train line runs behind the house, atop a small grassy embankment and a rusty metal trestle across the street that runs perpendicular to the house. The spires of a church are visible in the distance. The sky is a pale blue and the sun shines from a low angle, leaving the purple painted house in the shade. On the verso in graphite is the photographer's signature and inscription: [Amanda Williams 2014-2016 / COLOR(ED) THEORY: Crown Royal Bag / Edition of 10].
African American  Search this
Advertising  Search this
Architecture  Search this
Art  Search this
Black geographies  Search this
Communities  Search this
Design  Search this
Housing  Search this
Photography  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Urban planning  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, purchased through the American Women's History Initiative Acquisitions Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Amanda Williams
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Color(ed) Theory Suite, 2014-2016
Visual Arts
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Media Arts-Photography
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture